Wallaby captaincy conundrum
SPOTLIGHT: New Wallaby coach Dave Rennie will have a few tough decisions to make in the build-up to this year’s revamped Rugby Championships.
Top of that list is the captaincy.
Michael Hooper, the incumbent, Friday said he was keen to stay on as captain under Rennie, but had yet to discuss the matter.
Rennie arrived in Australia this week following a break in his New Zealand homeland after seeing out his obligations to the Glasgow Warriors.
He takes the reins of the two-time World Cup-winners as they lie just seventh in the rankings and after a host of experienced players called it quits following last year’s World Cup.
Hooper, whose next Test will be his 100th, relinquished the NSW Waratahs’ captaincy to Rob Simmons earlier this year to focus on his game, but said he remained open to leading Australia.
“I haven’t spoken to Dave about it because it’s something that I think will develop down the track,” he told Fox Sports.
“As far as my take on captaincy, it’s a privilege that’s given to you by the people that decide that. That’s always been my mindset on it.
“If it pans out that way, yeah, I’m going to do everything I can to be the best I can be in that environment and, if I’m not [captain], how can I help the team as best as possible – that’s my mindset.”
Pressed on whether he wanted to be the captain, the 28-year-old flank said yes.
“Look, I’m very proud to have been captain of the country and I would still be very proud to continue doing that, and I would be very pleased to take on that role if it was bestowed upon me.”
Last month, Rennie said he had spoken to Hooper at length, but only about “earning the right to play”.
But he added: “He’s [Hooper] a strong contender for captain, but we haven’t firmed up any decision around that.
“There’s a lot of good leaders amongst the group.”
Hooper had his first taste of the Australian captaincy as a 22-year-old in 2014 when he stood in for the injured Stephen Moore during a series of Tests that year. He officially took over from Moore in 2017 and has led the team 46 times.
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